Why We Left Our AirBnB Early

We booked a two bedroom apartment in a residential area of Playa del Carmen. It’s about 20 minutes by colectivo from the strip. It was internet and a washer and dryer and …. not much else.

Our AirBnB didn’t have:

blankets

Netflix app

any food places within a 10 minute walk

an ADDRESS so nothing would deliver

Ugh …  when I asked the AirBnB hosts to call the delivery service for me, they said just tell them the name of the building and it should be fine. That’s what we did to start off with ..  it wasn’t fine. I ended up asking the security guard to call a pizza for us. He had a hard time explaining where we were because …  there wasn’t an address.  *blank stare*

We booked from Friday until Wednesday and ended up leaving Monday morning because the struggle to get food was too ridiculous. We booked an AirBnB at a beachside resort in Akumal.

We arrived to find: no internet, no Netflix, only 1 tv in the living room (though the online photos showed a tv in the bedroom as well), a place with lots of little upkeep issues (ugly headboards, back burner on the stove taped over …  yes with actual electrical TAPE, a sink that spews water if not turned on at the exact correct angle) and the cherry on top? No food places within walking distance! LOL

The first place was $185 for 6 nights. The second place was $350 for THREE nights. Same shit, different day. Ugh …..

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A Surprising Beach in Playa del Carmen

When we woke up this morning, we didn’t really have a plan. We are staying waaaaay outside of the Playa del Carmen strip area so we wanted to head back and see what was over there. Again, we didn’t really have a plan so we asked the guard at the complex where the collectivos were and headed out.

It turns out that the collectivo spot was in a residential area (makes sense, right?) that had a few shops, a pharmacy, and a small playground. We let the kids play for a bit and another family showed up. Since they had small children and we were all together, I asked them about the collectivos. They told me that the bus stop across the street went to the beach ….  so we headed over there and hopped on. Lol

It was a pretty short ride. Everyone was really nice and a few even laughed at my corny jokes about being hot. We met a couple that was vacationing from a town near Mexico City. They helped us by telling us where to get off the collectivo and which street to walk down.

We hopped off and ran into a franchise called Don  Sirloin. We had beef tacos, chicken tacos, french fries, guacamole, and a wierd bottle of horchata. Lol We ate and then headed to the beach. We didn’t know how far it was or what it would be like, we just started walking. Lol

We ended up on this cute little beach right in front of some pricey-looking resorts. The ferry to Cozumel was also right there. We hadn’t planned to get in the water but we couldn’t resist. We let them run around in the sand and jump waves. It was a really nice time.

After getting out, the littles fell asleep (hey, they are only toddlers) so we put them in our toddler Tulas so they could fall asleep. Of course, the sleepy dust overtook them by the time we made it to the mall (a 5 to 7 minute walk)  so we put the hoods up and let ’em rest. We walked the strip and saw what all the fuss was about.

It was crazy and I’m happy we didn’t stay there. I think my partner would have liked it. He likes the noise and proximity to food. Lol Anhyoo …  we walked back down to the Mega Supermarket and hopped in a taxi (only 60 pesos this time) because we were both tired.

We made it back to the AirBnB only to realize that there isn’t much around here and the food delivery services wouldn’t recognize the address. Ugh ….

Getting Around in Playa del Carmen

When we got off the ADO bus station in Playa del Carmen, we exited onto a little alley-looking street that had a 24 hour McDonalds, rental car company, and several resteraunts and shops. We turned to the right and saw a line of taxis. It was late. It was dark. We have two toddlers. We made a HUGE mistake: we got in the first taxi we saw. Ugh …  180 pesos from the bus station to our AirBnB (about a 15 min drive).

Uber

For some reason, Uber is not available in the Yucatan peninsula. We used it with no problem in Mexico City and Puebla. In Oaxaca, it didn’t exist. In Playa del Carmen, it doesn’t exist. We knew that before we arrived, hence heading to the taxi stand.

Taxis

The taxi from the bus station to our AirBnB was 180 pesos. The taxi from the Mega Supermarket (near the center of town) to our AirBnB was …..  60 pesos. Taxi drivers always take advantage of the new folks in town. Ugh …. which is why we prefer Uber. UGH!

Collectivos

We didn’t want to get taken again, so we walked out to the local collectivo stop. Taking the collectivo was about 10 pesos per adult and 5 pesos per child. It still took about 15 minutes. The can was pretty new and clean plus there were benches along the inside. We were not squished in there like sardines, like I expected. We met a nice couple visiting from a town near Mexico City that told us where to get off (in from the Mega Supermarket) and which street to walk down to get to the beach. We’ll probably be taking collectivos from here on out.

Walking

The last option is walking. Some places I’m more willing to walk to than others. Lol When you use collectivos, you kind of end up riding a bit and walking a bit. Hey, it’s good for your health, you can stop at random interesting places and you’re legs will look great! Lol

Anyhoo … we’re still figuring out how to get around Playa del Carmen. There is a learning curve, but we’re resilient and willing to learn.

Paz.

 

 

Babywearing On the Cheap

Shay-Babywearing-Guillermo-Rebozo-Wrap-First-Attemp

My first try. Thankfully, I got better. Lol

Since we’ve been babywearing for the last two years I’ve come in contact with lots of different people. Some have been really welcoming. Some have been a bit judgmental. You see, I started babywearing with a piece of material I found in my sewing stash. Yep, that piece of material around my torso and my then three month old, was what I used for the first few months.

I didn’t know what I was “supposed” to use. I just knew that the ladies in Peru were doing it with pieces of fabric. I went online, saw this video on a no-sew rebozo, and decided to try it. I grabbed some white material that was long enough to tie around me and the baby, followed the video, threw him in it, and have been babwearing ever since.

After a few months, my partner found an Infantino mei tei at a swap meet for $5. I threw it in the washing machine and took my oldest around the world (South Africa, Brazil, Cambodia, Viet Nam, Hong Kong, Singapore, and South Korea) in it for two years. When we won the same, but this time brand new, mei tei from the Black babywearing group on Facebook we put our second baby in it and saw the world.

Guillermo-Shay-Babywearing-2015-10-29-Baby

Mei tei

Now that our oldest is about to be four years old, we’ve had to upgrade to a toddler Tula. Since we’re still cheap, we bought it used off of eBay for $80 (brand new they are around $160) while on vacation in Las Vegas.

Over the last, almost, four years we’ve been babywearing we’ve spent a whopping $85 on babywearing. That’s it. $85.

Even though babywearing is primarily used in low income communities around the world, it’s been rebranded as an upscale white people thing here in the United States. That’s probably because lots of the carriers (think Ergo, Tula, LillieBaby, etc.) are $100+ and when you’re earning $11 and hour spending NINE HOURS of your income on something that you don’t really understand doesn’t make sense. I get it. My point is this, if you are thinking about babywearing but you don’t have tons of money …  don’t worry. It can be done.

Guillermo-Shay-Babywearing-Woven-Wrap-Shay-Smile-7-4-2016

My second try with a wrap that was loaned to me. Couldn’t get the hang of it.

If you want to babywear but don’t want to spend tons of money on it:

  • Check your local thrift stores. Often they’ll have baby carriers in the sheets and towels section for $10 or cheaper. Just check to make sure that all the parts are there and in working condition.
  • Check your local babywearing groups. Often there are parents that already have carriers that they are looking to sell. I actually got the one and only new baby carrier from a Black babywearing group on Facebook. I won it.
  • Check Craigslist and eBay. There are tons of barely used carriers (I think people get them as gifts and never use it) available and prices can be quite cheap.
  • Make one. This is the most challenging option but there are groups on Facebook that specialize in helping individuals sew their own babycarriers. My guess is that members mostly make Moby-type wraps and mei teis.
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Rocking my 3 year old in a toddler Tula at Yosemite National Park.

Hopefully, you’ve been encouraged to try babywearing. Please let me know how it goes and if you have any more ideas of how to get cheap, safe baby carriers.

 

Planning a Road Trip – 2 Weeks

Banff

Banff National Park in Canada

We have a few weeks coming up with nothing on the books so why not fill those days with a road trip? I’d like: Negro-Leagues-Baseball-Museum-3249

Dignity Statue South Dakota Missouri River

Dignity statue in South Dakota

But that probably won’t happen. Lol We’ll have about 19 days to drive around so we’d be moving every day or two … that is a lot of driving. We’ll have to figure this out because I LOVE the idea of this trip. Perhaps we should wait until March when we’d have about 30 days. Hmmmm ….   either way, this agenda is on my mind.

Family Set of Holiday Mugs

I did it!

When we were matched with our son, my sister bought us the cutest little holiday mug set. There were two large mugs and one baby sized mug. It was adorable! *in my Maui voice* Once we were matched with our daughter I realized that we needed to add another mug to our set. I looked high and low to find another baby sized mug that matched our set, but I came up with bubkis.

This year I decided that I’d just Cricut us up a set. It was more challenging than I thought it would be (small, sticky lettering that ended up crooked) but not as hard and I was afraid it would be (the Cricut does most of the work).

Family holiday mug set bears Cricut 631 vinyl

Anyhoo …   I’m proud of my crooked little family of bears holiday mug set. I found the mugs at the thrift store. I already had the vinyl. This was the first time I inverted the images (notice the parent bears kissing), used the slicing tool to weld the letters onto the image (so the words were cut out of the bear), and used 631 vinyl. I thought about 651 but I wasn’t sure I wanted to commit to this look. Lol

I saw a few images that inspired me but weren’t exactly what I wanted so I got to work. I’ll probably diy a new set next holiday season but for the time being …   I’m happy.

Never Take Your Toddlers to Mexico

I had the bright idea to visit Mexico now that both adoptions are finished. My plan was to fly into Mexico City and then take buses to Puebla, Xalapa, Cordoba, Yanga, and Oaxaca City. There were some people that told me that Mexico was dangerous but I didn’t listen. I should have.

#1 People Are Rude

Every city that we visited contained people that just …. wanted to smile with my babies. It was really annoying. There I was trying to contain a screaming toddler and a person would try to give them a treat, play with them or give me a kind smile.

#2 Buses Are a Pain

Taking two toddlers on a bus in the middle of a country you’ve never been to before could be stressful. Not so in Mexico. Checking the ADO buses timetables online was easy. Purchasing tickets using my credit cards at the bus terminals was easy. Hopping on the new, clean buses and watching recent movies (Moana and Star Wars) while eating snacks I purchased before we left the terminal until we calmly reached our arrival. Easy peasy. We took buses to three major cities (Puebla, Cordoba, and Oaxaca City) and enjoyed each ride.

#3 My Kids Are Starving

The other terrible thing about traveling with toddlers in Mexico is all the food. It’s everywhere. It’s delicious. It’s cheap. How annoying! My two toddlers munched their way across Mexico, Veracruz, and Oaxaca states. Lol My oldest especially loved the handmade tortillas that we found in many small, corner taquieria carts.

My family spent almost three weeks in Mexico with our three year old and two year old. We were super frustrated at how nice everyone was, how easy it was to travel across the country, and how much cheap, delicious food was available. What really chucked your corn about Mexico?